Boogie Lights Mixes Gospel, Disco and House on "JOY LOVE PEACE"

Boogie Lights bringing the house down at Larimer Lounge on December 29, 2022.
Boogie Lights bringing the house down at Larimer Lounge on December 29, 2022. Jessica Smith
Mark Henrichs isn't your ordinary DJ. His high-energy sets as Boogie Lights find him bouncing around stage and jamming on a raised electric drum set while simultaneously spinning infectious dance music, and he's often joined by other musicians who build his sound to even further heights with vocals or saxophone. After seeing him once, you won't forget it (or at least your body won't, after dancing so hard).

His latest single, "JOY LOVE PEACE," is out now on all major streaming platforms, an undeniably groovy banger that melds nu-disco, deep house, gospel and soul into a soaring amalgamation of EDM that you'll likely be playing on repeat.

Henrichs began making the song last June, after spending six years diving deeper into gospel music. "I've always loved gospel and enjoyed it. We weren't really religious; we went to church twice a year," he says. "But just hearing that gospel choir — there's something about it that kind of makes me tingle. Specifically, I've really enjoyed Pastor T.L. Barrett and just deep-dove into his material. I'd been wanting to make some sort of gospel- and house-inspired song. I started mixing random things, a song from Sister Act or something, that I'd splice into some house beats. But I was starting to get inspiration."

Then one morning, he just woke up and decided to make the gospel-house song happen. "I found these samples of 'Joy Love Peace' that were on a royalty-free sample site, just in a different order," he recalls. "And I was like, 'Yeah, that's good.' And then I just turned it into this angelic, dark bass line with an inspiration of gospel, which it hopefully portrayed."

He's played it at almost every show he's done since then, but didn't debut his mixed and mastered version in full until he headlined the Larimer Lounge on December 29. It was met with great fanfare, which "felt damn good," he says.

"It was great. I'm super energetic when I play, and it's been the most well received and most danceable song. It's been fun to see the reception in the crowd," Henrichs continues. "It's an opportunity to feel positivity and kind of feel a little bit of the goofiness, too. It's such a different vibe, and hopefully brings a little bit of inspirational feelings to the listener."

Henrichs has been a full-time musician since late October, after making his name at Denver clubs like Beacon and the Larimer, and becoming a regular go-to for weddings and corporate events. "It's been a plunge," he says, adding that he's "learning some curves and making it happen."

Originally from Rochester, New York, he moved to Denver in January 2017, which is when he started his Boogie Lights project. Before that, Henrichs had been playing as a drummer with college friends in the funk-rock band Soul Junction, and he came to Denver with that band to play Quixote's True Blue (now the Black Box). That's when he fell in love with the Mile High City, he recalls.

"Honestly, meeting people there, outside that venue and just in Denver, and I just love the mountains — that's what drew me to Denver," Henrichs says. "And just loving the people and loving the vibe. Coming back from that tour, we realized we were probably going to be in different directions after college. And I was like, 'You know, I've been wanting to do a lot more disco, and I could probably deejay and drum at the same time.' So then I bought some equipment and taught myself how to deejay, and started this Boogie Lights project."

Boogie Lights first consisted of Henrichs on bass, keys, drums and the decks, "before I realized that was a bit too much," he says with a laugh. "Way too much setup for each show. But then it slowly worked out. When I first moved here, I actually got one of the first opportunities through Your Mom's House, because they really enjoyed what I was doing, and I got a lot of opportunities with them. I also played Cervantes' and Walnut Room, and eased my way into the Denver scene."

And as much as the Denver scene loves Boogie Lights, Henrichs loves the scene right back.

"It's such a tight-knit community, but also, it's such a transplant city, so it's very welcoming for new musicians and really supportive for different acts," he says. "Especially when I first started Boogie Lights. I love jamming with people, and that's kind of always what Boogie Lights has also included."

If "JOY LOVE PEACE" leaves you wanting more, know that this is just the beginning of Henrichs's disco journey: He'll be releasing a song called "Disco Boogie" in early March. "I'm really excited about it. It features my own vocals that just had stuck in my head one day," he says. "That's the step toward my actual sound — this kind of funky disco music, but mixed with a little bit of the tech-house beat. That perfect in-between with a nice crunch, but still super groovy."
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Emily Ferguson is Westword's Culture Editor, covering Denver's flourishing arts and music scene. Before landing this position, she worked as an editor at local and national political publications and held some odd jobs suited to her odd personality, including selling grilled cheese sandwiches at music festivals and performing with fire. Emily also writes on the arts for the Wall Street Journal and is an oil painter in her free time.
Contact: Emily Ferguson

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